17,000 new homes to be built as part of $2B plan to ease housing crunch, Trudeau says

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Kitchener, Ont., on Tuesday to reveal the government's plan to add a total of 17,000 new housing units across Canada. (James Chaarani/CBC - image credit)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Kitchener, Ont., on Tuesday to reveal the government's plan to add a total of 17,000 new housing units across Canada. (James Chaarani/CBC - image credit)

About 17,000 new housing units will be built across Canada as part of a $2-billion federal plan to address living affordability, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in Kitchener, Ont., on Tuesday.

The planned spending stems from commitments made in the last two federal budgets.

Trudeau was joined by Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen in making the announcement, as part of the government's Rapid Housing Initiative.

Most of the 17,000 units pledged will be affordable, but Trudeau couldn't say exactly how many would be built in Waterloo region and Guelph.

A point-in-time count done last September found 1,085 people were without a home in Waterloo region. Some of them were living at an encampment along Victoria Street in Kitchener that this summer was accommodating 60 residents, according to a regional report.

James Chaarani/CBC
James Chaarani/CBC

Trudeau made the announcement at YW Kitchener-Waterloo's affordable housing complex on Blockline Road.

"This supportive housing building is now home for dozens of women at risk of homelessness, or who were experiencing it until these units were built," he said.

The prime minister said the first two phases of the Rapid Housing program, which began in 2020, offered more than 10,000 units — 41 of them at the Blockline Road complex. He said 4,500 additional affordable units will be built as part of the the third round announced Tuesday.

Housing provides stability, Hussen says

Hussen also spoke of the success of the new Blockline Road building.

"This location is not only giving women who had been experiencing homelessness, who are at risk of experiencing homelessness a reliable roof over their heads, but also ensuring that they have the important wraparound supports that they need to not just get by anymore, but actually start to get ahead and have the stability that they need and deserve."

James Chaarani/CBC
James Chaarani/CBC

Trudeau also pledged 10,800 new housing units through the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund, with 6,000 of them set to be affordable housing. He also promoted a "rent to own pilot" for Canadians as part of that program.

Earlier Tuesday, Trudeau and Hussen took part in a roundtable discussion on housing affordability.

The prime minister was last in Waterloo region in April, when he also talked about housing.

During that visit, Trudeau visited a Kitchener family, and touted his government's budget and how it addressed three areas of the housing sector: Supply, savings and cutting down on speculation.